Paperback Dolls and Nutrackers

I have a guest post up today at the Paperback Dolls blog! They’re currently featuring New York authors and bloggers as part of their “Passport to New York” series. So, since I’m both, I talked about both my novel and the blog.

Regarding the blog, I gave their readers some recommendations on what to see in New York for the next couple of months dance-wise. I then realized I haven’t done that for my own readers yet, because I’ve been so blasted busy. But of course everyone who regularly reads my blog knows what I’ll recommend: Alvin Ailey, upcoming at City Center for the month of December (it’s Judith Jamison’s last season as artistic director so there will be lots of tributes to her); New York City Ballet’s Balanchinian Nutcracker which has already begun and continues on through the beginning of the year; and ABT’s new Nutcracker, which begins December 22nd and will be at Brooklyn Academy of Music.

I didn’t have a chance to write about it but I saw a small sneak preview of ABT’s new Nut at the Guggenheim’s Works & Process event a couple weeks ago, at which choreographer Alexei Ratmansky and conductor Ormsby Wilkins spoke. Several excerpts were performed including Veronika Part and Marcelo Gomes dancing part of the final Clara and the Prince pas de deux, the Russian dance, and some of the snow scenes. Ratmansky and ABT representatives had said earlier during a press conference that it would be pretty much traditional, but from what I saw it looks very modern. The costumes and sets – which are gorgeous and are made by Richard Hudson, the Tony award-winning set designer of the Lion King – are period, but the movement looked very modern to me, not at all classical. The pas de deux looked like lyrical and more romantic (without a capital “r”) and less fairy tale-like than I’ve normally seen, and the Russian dance looked folksy and even a bit slapsticky rather than the classical bravura dancing we’re used to with “Trepak.” Anyway, Ratmansky had noted that the original choreography for this ballet is no longer extant so that’s why there are so many different versions. The only two versions I’m really that familiar with, I guess, are Balanchine’s and the San Francisco Ballet’s two-year-old version, the DVD of which I reviewed a while back.

Anyway, I think the new Ratmansky Nutcracker is going to be a departure from the ordinary, and it will be interesting to see the whole and see how audiences react!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


  1. In your opinion, is one Nutcracker “better” than the other? Do you like the modern choreography of ABT?

  2. Well, of the ones I’ve seen so far, I like San Francisco’s the best, which is classical but with a more modern setting. I’m generally not in love with Balanchine’s. I just find it a bit boring. I haven’t seen all of ABT’s yet, but will when it premieres later this month. I will definitely report back!

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